Posts by: Stephanie

New Mexico Bishops Speak Out Against Planned Parenthood; Reach Out to Those Affected by Abortion

New Mexico Bishops Speak Out Against Planned Parenthood; Reach Out to Those Affected by Abortion

The New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, which includes Bishop John Wester of Santa Fe, Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, and Bishop James Wall of Gallup, released a statement regarding the recent videos that show leaders of Planned Parenthood discussing the procurement of fetal body parts from abortion clinics.

The Bishops of New Mexico are in solidarity with Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. We urge the civil authorities of our State to be vigilant that these practices of the sale of fetal tissue do not happen in New Mexico.

We reach out to all who have participated in an abortion and may be experiencing trauma from the discovery that the remains of their aborted child may have been desecrated. We welcome you to our Roman Catholic parishes throughout New Mexico and encourage you to use the services offered at the Parish level, Diocesan level, and other Catholic social services such as Project Rachel.

Signed,
Archbishop John C. Wester, Bishop Oscar Cantu, and Bishop James S. Wall

Below is the full statement from Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston:

Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a “widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many.” The recent news stories concerning Planned Parenthood direct our attention to two larger issues involving many institutions in our society. The first is abortion itself: a direct attack on human life in its most vulnerable condition. The second is the now standard practice of obtaining fetal organs and tissues though abortion. Both actions fail to respect the humanity and dignity of human life. This fact should be the center of attention in the present public controversy.

If the Planned Parenthood news coverage has caused anyone to experience revived trauma from their own involvement in abortion, be assured that any and all persons will be welcomed with compassion and assistance though the Church’s post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel.  If you or someone you know would like confidential, nonjudgmental help, please visit www.projectrachel.com.

To the Woman Who Had an Abortion…

To the Woman Who Had an Abortion…

On Tuesday’s The Patrick Madrid Show, Patrick read a moving letter addressed to all women who have had abortions. The letter, written by author Nancy Guthrie shares a message of hope, and the freedom that comes through Christ. It begins:

My dear sister in Christ:

I’ve been thinking a lot about you this week as the world—the Christian world in particular—explodes with outrage over the cavalier conversation of Planned Parenthood medical staffers regarding the crushing of baby bodies in the womb. I’m thinking about you because of the abortion you had before you truly took hold of Christ in a saving way, or perhaps even after. And I’m imagining every video that you see played on the news and posted on Facebook forces you to do battle, once again, with shame and regret.

And I want you to know that I’m sad with you over the loss of all that the enemy stole from you on that day, the false promise of freedom he made to you that day, and for the accusations he has continued to hurl at you since that day, even though you have confessed and mourned over your sin. He wants to convince you that you have committed some separate class of sin when the truth is all of us have sinned in hell-worthy ways.

Read the rest of the letter at The Gospel Coalition. You can also hear Patrick read the letter on his show (start at 34:20) and listen to his commentary on remorse, despair, forgiveness, and love.

If you are struggling with emotional or spiritual pain after having an abortion, Project Rachel has many resources to help you heal.

Helping Those Who Have Been Hurt By the Church

Helping Those Who Have Been Hurt By the Church

Today there are about 32 million Americans who were raised in the Catholic faith but have separated from the Church and are no longer practicing. Some leave over disagreements about Church doctrine or because they simply become disenchanted with the Church of their upbringing. For others, however, their separation is the result of being hurt by a member of the Church. Being hurt by the Church can be especially painful because it was created by Christ to bring people to Him, not drive them away.

There are many different situations where someone could feel hurt by the Church, from feeling unwelcome to serious abuse. Every situation is different, but everyone who has been hurt by a member of the Church needs to experience the love and compassion of Christ through us. If you know someone who has been hurt by a member of the Church, here are some ways to reach out to them.

Empathy. Acknowledge that they are hurting and try to understand how their negative experience made them feel. Saying “The Church is perfect but all people are sinful” is a true statement, but starting out with that can sound dismissive and make it seem as though you care more about defending the reputation of the Church than about the wounds of your loved one. As Pope Francis said,

“You have to heal the wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds. Heal the wounds.”

Clarify misunderstanding. It may be that a person leaves the Church because they have misunderstood or been mislead regarding a teaching or practice of the Church. Perhaps they think, or have been told, that if they are divorced they have committed a mortal sin and are no longer welcome to receive the Eucharist. Or maybe they think the Church hates gay people because she does not allow or endorse same-sex marriage. Neither of these are true, but they are misunderstandings that can certainly lead someone away from the Church. If there was hurt caused by a misunderstanding of Church teaching, try to explain and clarify what the Church actually teaches. If you don’t have an answer, it’s OK to say, “That doesn’t sound right. Let me look into it and get back to you.” Catholic Answers is a great resource for learning what and why the Church teaches what she does, and can help you in clarifying any misunderstandings.

Seek justice. If someone was hurt by a member of the Church it is important that things be made right. If the hurt is the result of an argument or unkind comment, apologies should be made to the person who was unjustly hurt. If it involves abuse, it is important that the abuse is reported. Contact your local police authorities immediately. If the abuse involves a minor, also contact your state’s Department of Children and Family Services.

Help in the healing process. Healing takes time, and when trust is broken it needs to be rebuilt. Be willing to walk along the journey with them, realizing that it may take some time. If you feel like you can’t give your loved one the support they need, put them in contact with someone you trust who can help them in the healing process. And pray for healing every day. God wants to pour His grace into those who are hurting, as Scripture tells us:

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3

Be a witness. Many people leave the Church because they see Church members who are hypocritical. So strive to be a living witness of Christ in the world. This doesn’t mean you are a failure if you aren’t perfect all the time; but when you do wrong, admit it and work to be better. Through humility and charity, try to bring Christ to all you meet, especially those who have been hurt by members of His Church.

Invite them to come home. The Catholic Church has the sacraments that Jesus instituted to pour out His grace on us, including His very own body and blood in the Eucharist. It is a tragedy if the actions of a Church member keep people from accessing these sacraments. So no matter how long your loved one has been away from the Catholic Church, invite them to come home. Let them know about a Catholics Come Home program in your area. They may not take you up on your first invitation, but continue to let them know that they are always welcome whenever they are ready to return.